Watergating: Crabs, Beer and More

Can you Tailgate on or in a Boat?  And, what would you call it…Watergating? 

Well, what’s in a name anyway, and call it what you will, that’s just what we did recently.  A few friends and I decided to take a trip down to Baltimore to catch a game at Camden Yards…by boat.  Yes, by boat.  The weather was good, and we had some time off, so we packed up my friends’ 45 foot Silverton Cruiser and headed out from Sommers Point, NJ, at the crack of dawn, for an adventure in sailing, baseball, and, of course, eating.

The water was basically calm, and we cruised easily through the Inlet, along the Jersey coast past the beach motels and boardwalk rides, across Delaware Bay, up the C&D Canal, across the Chesapeake, and, 9 hours and 10 minutes later, were sailing into Baltimore Harbor, and our first stop, Captain James Crab House.

Since I had a little time on my hands, when I wasn’t sharing responsibility for spotting Channel Markers and Buoys, I did some research on my Blackberry, and found that Captain James Crab House was one of the best Crab Houses in the Baltimore area, and, lucky for us, the only one in the Inner Harbor area with its own dock where you could tie up your boat and enjoy a Crab Feast either on your boat or on their dock.  I also used the time and my trusty Blackberry to call and check on the availability of their Crabs and their sizes.  Yes, size is important!  I was told that they had plenty of Crabs, and that they had Jumbo Crabs for $89.00 a dozen.  So, as we approached the Harbor, I called ahead to alert them of our impending arrival and to order 3 dozen, hot, steamed Crabs smothered in spicy Old Bay seasoning, and several baskets of Old Bay seasoned fries.  In Philly, we call these “Crab Fries”, but a local restaurant, Chickie & Petes, has copyrighted that name, so every place else, including Maryland Crab country, must call them “Seasoned Fries”, or at Captain James, “Boardwalk Fries”.

The Harbor was busy, but our own Captain Jim maneuvered through it all and up to the dock, and by the time we were securely  tied up, our orders were ready.  For those not skilled or accustomed to it, eating Crabs is a rewarding, but messy experience, so we decided to enjoy our feast on the dock, overlooking the boat, and not on the boat.  To quench our thirst from our long journey, and to complete our feast, we of course ordered several pitchers of ice cold beer.  A local beer favorite, we found out, was Pabst Blue Ribbon, a brand that none of us had seen for years, so, in the spirit of adventure and Maryland Crabs, Fries and Beer, we ordered the Pabst, and it was surprisingly good. 

As for the Crabs, what can I say, there is nothing better than steamed hard shell Crabs by the water, and these were no exception.  They were sweet, spicy and tender, and for 2 hours we cracked, hammered and picked.  We also ended up ordering an extra ½ dozen.  As I noted earlier, size does matter when eating Crabs.  The bigger they are, the meatier they are, which makes the experience even better.

We finished eating just before sunset and about 1 hour before the start of the game, just enough time to wash up, untie the boat, and cruise the short distance down into Inner Harbor, where we again docked, and hurried over to Camden Yards for the game.  Don’t ask me the score or anything about the game.  It was a good game, I think, but my mind, or our minds, weren’t on the game, but were on the experiences of the day and our tailgating or dockgating or watergating, and planning for our trip back the next day.